Barbara with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Seoul, Korea, 1993

At the beginning of 2014 I discontinued teaching when I joined the sales staff at Robertson & Sons Violin Shop, Inc. My family and I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in June, 2014. My background in teaching and performing helps me to assist players of all ages when searching for instruments and bows to perfectly suit their needs. Working with professional players, teachers, parents and students from all over the country keeps me extremely busy. I am presenting a series of masterclasses and concerts in beautiful Robertson Hall.

 I taught violin and viola for more than 40 years to students of all ages, from pre-school through university graduate level and beyond. 

Through my teachers, I can trace my own violin lineage back to Eugene Ysaÿe, Louis Persinger, Joseph Knitzer, Joseph Gingold, and others. I have pursued a life-long study of violin pedagogy and have infused the ideas of Flesch, Galamian, Gerle, Rolland, Havas, Suzuki, Kendall, and others with my own to create an individual style of teaching. I divide my my philosophy of teaching the violin into the following basic categories:

  • A solid technical foundation is laid during the formative years; a student builds on this important foundation for the rest of his/her life. The basics include proper posture and position of the violin, a firm but flexible bow hold, tonal control, use of all parts of the bow, and left-hand and right-hand articulation. In my teaching, I put a huge emphasis on excellent intonation. I have developed my own system of teaching intonation, Fingerboard Geography, which integrates visual, aural, and tactile awareness and includes scales, double-stops, shifting, and high positions.
  • Many students I have taught at clinics and workshops around the world have adapted a rigid stance and attempt to play the instrument only with the two arms. I teach a whole-body approach to playing the violin. Flexibility begins with the feet and travels through the entire body. In playing the violin, fluidity should be developed from head to toe. This enables the violinist to breathe with the music and sing with the instrument.
  • An awareness of music styles can be developed from the beginning. A student has to be taught to convince himself of his musical ideas before he can convince his audience. Drawing on my own extensive performing experience, I demonstrate generously in order that the student may emulate my style as I guide him in what I deem to be the most appropriate musical direction. I ask many questions, encouraging the student to formulate his own solutions to technical problems and develop his own style consciousness. The most exciting aspect of teaching for me is witnessing my students’ instinct turning into artistry.

For four decades I have researched the student violin/viola literature and how to use it to prepare the student both technically and musically for the major repertoire.  I am familiar with and own most technical studies currently in use for violinists at all levels as well as many for violists. My library includes most violin series as well as student and advanced pieces and concerti. Chamber music is important and rewarding for students and I have collected many works at various levels for diverse ensembles, especially violin ensembles. I am also familiar with the string class methods which are most widely used in heterogeneous string classes.

A private teacher who works with a student for anywhere from two to ten years has an awesome responsibility: to mold a young person’s life and help him or her mature into a person of noble character as well as becoming an accomplished musician.  My passion in life is to play and teach the violin. I am dedicated to my teaching, set my standards high, and expect excellence from my students.

Mrs. Waltraud Suzuki with Barbara and her student Ryoko Arai

Matusumoto, Japan, 1999

 Barbara Barber

Violinist      Violist      Teacher

A few of Barbara's students